WordPress RSS with Feedburner

So to be honest, I don’t know the real advantages to using Feedburner to distribute your RSS feeds, but I’m about to find out. Care to learn with me? I’m going to sign up for a Feedburner account, set it up, play around with it, and if I don’t see the benefits, I’ll go do some more research.

1. Claim your feed

Go to feedburner.com and sign in using your Google account. If you don’t have one, go ahead and get one (it’s free!).  Type in your blog or feed address and hit next.

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If you have a seperate feed for your comments, Feedburner will ask you which feed is your source. Choose your regular feed (not your comments feed) and continue. Next you’ll have the opportunity to change your feed title and feed address.

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Make some changes if the defaults don’t suit you, then click next.

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Record your new feed link. You’ll need it a little later on.

2. Feed stats

Now we’re getting to the good stuff. It looks like Feedburner is analytics for you RSS feeds. According to their website, they track:

  • Subscription data (e.g. number of subscribers by day, previous week, last 30 days and all time) and Reach data (the estimated number of individuals clicking or viewing your feed content in a given day)
  • Breakdown of feed readers and aggregators, email services, web browsers and bots by which subscribers are accessing your content
  • Clickthrough tracking
  • Uncommon uses — sites where your content has been resyndicated including other blogs, directories and even spam sites
  • Item enclosure downloads (podcasts)
  • Live hits, conveniently translated to your local time zone

They track a number of things by default, but give the option to enable additional tracking points. I’ve checked all the additional points (all two that is) except the one that involves podcasting, since I’m not doing any of that at the moment.

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3. Integrate with WordPress

Finally, they even offer a WordPress plugin for easy integration.

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Clicking the link will take you to a page with instructions for installing the plugin. Once you have the plugin installed, go to Settings>Feedburner and enter the feed URL that you recorded in step one and click Save.

4. Test it out

Alright, now that everything is set up, go visit your blog and click your RSS link. It should send you to your brand new Feedburner RSS feed. You can also visit Feedburner and login with your Google account to view your stats.

So it looks like the advantage to using Feedburner  is that you can track your RSS subscribers. That’s definitely an essential part of understanding your traffic. I already use Google Analytics to track my website traffic (and I’ll write about that in the future) and now I’m glad I have Feedburner keeping track of my subscribers.

Do you use something other than Feedburner to publish your RSS feeds? Tell us a little about what you use and why in the comments below. Thanks!

Posted June 15, 2009 by Alex Mansfield

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